Thursday, December 2, 2010

Celebrating Advent... You can do this!

Advent is to be the sober, reflective, preparatory time- a period of 21 to 28 days before Christmas Day. According to different Advent books I have on hand- this is the time the Church, traditionally, sets aside to prepare itself for the coming of Jesus- past, present and future. Past- His coming as a helpless infant into the darkness of a crowded stable. Present- His coming, personally, into each of our lives- our Redeemer, Savior, Healer, Deliverer and Friend. Future- His coming again as King of kings and Lord of Lords, the Messiah who will set up his Forever Kingdom- to reign forever and ever. It doesn’t have to fancy or incredibly involved, taking up tons of your time- that is not what Advent is about. How can you spend time reflecting when you are terribly busy doing?
My suggestion is if this is the first time you and your family will be celebrating Advent to Keep It Simply Simple.
There are tons of wonderful Advent devotions out there and you can find oodles just by googling.
Some things we have done:
A Jesse Tree- I use Ann Voscamp’s Jesse Tree Devotional- as I love the ornaments and the devotionals are well written. The devotions will take approximately 15 minutes each day.
My absolute favorite Advent resource by far is an Advent trilogy by Arnold Ytreeide that will take 3 years to complete- and is so well worth it! The Family Advent stories are as follows Tabitha’s Travels, Bartholomew’s Passage and Jotham’s Journey. These books are simply amazing. The story pulls you in-- you sit on pins and needles waiting to hear what happens next. We have finished the series one time thru and plan to revisit this wonderful trilogy possibly next year as the kids are all older and will each understand it differently than they did before....
The books are very much worth the purchase price.... or you could check your local library- check interlibrary loan too or.... you just may find you have a friend who has the series and will let you borrow from her! (That’s how we got started!)
But wait . . . . .
Egads! You say- We’re already behind. We can’t start now!
To that I say Pahshaw! Don’t be so bah-humbuggy.
Please tell me what exactly is wrong with starting a few days late? Don’t worry about “playing catch up” and trying to read the 3-5 previous daily devotional.....
My advice- simply state what the ornament represents, hang it on your Jesse Tree and move on. Start right where you are- which ever day it is to be with the devotional guide- that is where you start- don’t back track! You will inevitably fall further and further behind, become frustrated and bah-humbuggy and the Advent feelings you were to be experiencing will go straight out the window.
Take it easy- be kind to yourself and your family and don’t try to do everything.
And yes, I’m learning to take my own advice too.
So just start where you are at- celebrating three weeks of Advent is better than no weeks, isn’t it? I think so.
Remember this is our time to be preparing our hearts- you can do that without a lot of hoopla or even a specialized Advent devotional.
The easiest and best way to prepare our hearts is with Prayer.
Lord God, Thank you for this time of waiting that I am experiencing. Please continue to teach me patience and long-suffering. Remind me that there is joy and special experiences in the midst of waiting- help me to see and not miss these special gifts from You. Lord, I also ask that you would work in my heart and the hearts of my family during this Advent season. Help us prepare ourselves to celebrate You. Show us Lord in the quiet what this time is really about.
Amen.
Enjoy this Season my friends!

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